How To Bring Irish Pub Decor to Your Home Bar
There is no more revered and beloved institution than the Irish pub. You can find one in almost every town of any size – anywhere in the world. Why are they so appealing? Part of it is the legendary warmth of Irish hospitality. But a large part of it has to do with Irish pub decor – a specific set of elements and materials that make up that unmistakable atmosphere. The combination of which magically makes you want to relax, dwell a while and enjoy some lively conversation and a pint or two.
They are magical. When you see a pub sign, you almost know for certain that inside is a place of comfort – a warm, cozy refuge where you can have some nourishment for body and soul. They are temples of snug comfort. The interiors glow like embers. They are the essence of homeyness.
So how do you bring that feeling into your man cave or home bar? Impossible, right? Well, not really. Irish pubs are kind of like McDonald’s in a way – stay with me now. There are common elements to all Irish pubs that make the experience duplicatable. Also, there are certain materials that evoke that pub feeling. If you use them in the right way and give them your own personal touch, you will be amazed at the authenticity you can create.
Let’s take a look.
Elements of Irish Pub Decor
Here are some items that are so pervasively displayed in Irish pubs that you might think it was a legal requirement. You can easily buy and install all of these and you on your way to feeling like you’re in the Old Sod.
- Memorabilia. Every Irish pub has black and white, vintage, nostalgic photos, posters and newspaper clippings. Usually celebrating great Irishmen such as cops, politicians and sports legends. However, the pics can just be of special events in your life with friends and family.
- Guiness Signs. It’s not an Irish pub without it. Buy a few. They make great wall coverings
- Pub Sign. The word pub is short for public house. A pub’s identity is inextricably connected with the sign declaring the public nature of the establishment. You can buy a replica or, better yet have a pub sign custom made.
- Chalk Board. Irish pubs serve home cooked meals every day. They all have chalk boards to alert their guests to the daily heart-warming specials. Get one and write “Daily Special: Whatever you brought” that ought to get a laugh.
- Small tables, benches and short stools. There is plenty of comfort in an Irish pub, but they are not places to lounge about on soft furniture. A lot of pubs in Ireland don’t even have bar stools. People stand and chat. Likewise, real pubs have furniture that allows for lively conversation. Low benches, short stools and tables create little groupings of people who face each other and converse. It makes for a vibrant, social atmosphere. If you have the room, get a bench of some sort – an old church pew is ideal. Scatter a few low tables and stool and you have an Irish decor conversation pit.
- Dart Board. That’s an easy one. Nothing says pub like a dart board.
Materials of Irish Pub Decor
Additionally, there are certain building materials that are strongly associated with Irish pub decor. Irish pubs are all about heritage. The materials used tend to be traditional. Most were introduced after the industrial revolution made them affordable. Here is a list that you can reference when fitting out your home bar. Try to incorporate as many as you can. The effect will be magical.
- Wood. Drywall won’t cut it. Irish pubs are all about dark, woody warmth. Aside from the furniture, try to cover at least some part of your floor or walls with oak. Be creative if necessary. Wood is essential.
- Stucco. Dark wood and stucco are an awesome combination if you are going for the country pub feel. Stucco is super easy to apply and instantly gives interesting texture to your walls.
- Pressed tin. If you can do the ceiling in pressed tin, go for it. If it’s beyond your budget or skills, just get a few pieces and tack it up strategically behind the bar. It lends authenticity and texture.
- Polished Brass. Whether it’s the foot rail or hand rail of your bar, or just a few brass objects placed in the right spots, the warm glow of burnished brass will be the right touch.
- Etched or Beveled Mirrors and Glass. Pubs and taverns of the 1800’s began installing elaborately decorated etched glass panels and mirrors. Be like the proud tavern owner and get at least one fancy mirror behind the bar. It is a requirement.
- Stained Glass.Whether it’s a Tiffany style lamp or a glass panel, stained glass gives a burst of warm color to your home pub.
- Small Ceramic Tiles. If you can, install a tile floor with a repeating pattern. It makes a dramatic contrast to all the wooden furniture and walls.
- Nailhead Leather. Again – if your budget allows, of if you can do it yourself, get some wooden stools, chairs or a bench with nail head leather upholstery. Bronze nail heads and leather are a stunning combination. Go for browns, and dark greens.
Summing up, you now have a lot of ideas of how to bring that Irish pub decor into your own home. Remember, building a man cave or home bar is a work in progress. It’s a hobby and a calling. Take your time. Try to find used, antique or reclaimed furnishings and materials. This will go a long way towards giving it that genuine Irish flavor.
Also – be creative. Use these items in creative, surprising ways. The important thing is to use as many as possible. Your home bar will exude the warmth of traditional Irish pub decor.